Monday, 18 May 2009

Walkies

When a young lady of my acquaintance recently suggested I might accompany her on a walk along the coastline of the Wirral, I can't pretend I wasn't flattered. I try to keep myself in trim, despite my advancing years, and the prospect of a seaside saunter with a beautiful lady at my arm was rather enticing.

As my alarm went off at 6.30am yesterday, however, I must confess to having had second thoughts. I'd envisaged a mid-afternoon stroll - perhaps followed by fish and chips for tea - but her instructions were quite firm. I was to meet her at Seacombe Ferry at 8.15am.

As I parked the car beside the ferry terminal, my sense of foreboding only increased. The car park was jam-packed with vehicles, and hundreds of folk were milling around at a time on Sunday which most normal people reserve for breakfast and a cursory review of MP's expense claims.

It soon became apparent that this was no ordinary walk. I had been enticed - unwittingly - to join the thousands of people who every year complete the Wirral Coastal Walk. When my companion rolled up with a packed lunch at the ready, any thoughts I had of a gentle amble quickly evaporated. "It's only 15 miles," she said. "We should have it done by lunchtime."

It transpired she'd done the walk a number of times before, usually as part of a group, but wanted this time to establish a 'personal best' time for it. After enrolling, we set off at 8.25am precisely, at a pace that might charitably be called 'brisk'.

My readers will be glad to know I put on a brave face and did my best to keep up with the human dynamo at my side (or, more accurately, just slightly ahead of me). We covered the first five miles in an hour. I've been in traffic jams that moved less quickly, and I felt surprisingly exhilarated at the achievement. As my old bones began to feel the strain, rain clouds began to gather across the Dee estuary and an ominous sense of foreboding gripped me. This woman was clearly on a mission, and any thoughts I had of us perhaps having a rest were repeatedly batted away. "If we stop, you'll never get started again," she said.

And so, the miles fell away, the last five in pouring rain. En route, we were passed by only two people - both of whom had strides that would not have disgraced a Roman centurian. I am sure my aching legs held us back but, nevertheless, we completed the 15 miles in a little under 3 hours 45 minutes.

Enjoyable though the experience undoubtedly was, I have made a mental note to ensure that, when I consult my diary for Sundays in May 2010, I will discover that I am due to be watching television.

4 comments:

Maddie Grigg said...

Just reading this has tired me out.

Bill Blunt said...

Indeed - a common reaction among readers of my blog, Maddie.

Daddy Papersurfer said...

My admiration knows no bounds Mr Blunt - I'll sit quietly on the sofa and contemplate on your achievement ........

Bill Blunt said...

I'll be eternally grateful if you could reserve a space beside you in about a year's time, DP...